Implementing Dice into the Gameplay with Bushido: The Card Game

I have mixed feelings about dice games. On the one hand, you have the thrill and excitement when you get the rolls you need, but on the other, the frustrations when you don’t. Sometimes, I can’t help but feel that the bad outweighs the good. I think that other board gamers feel my sentiment, as more and more board games (like Machi Koro, Space Base, King of New York, to name a few) develop new interesting ideas to mitigate the negative feelings of having randomness bite you in the behind.

I reached out to Nicholas of Pawn Joker Games, who set out on a mission to implement dice rolling in his upcoming game, Bushido: the Card Game of Virtue and Dice. I wanted to get in the mind of this board game designer to understand his thoughts on dice rolling in games and how he added it into his design. Nicolas was happy to share the development of Bushido and the challenges of self publishing a board game.

Bushido, the Card Game 2nd edition, launched it’s Kickstarter Campaign on February 17th! So those who are interested in dice rolling and samurai themes please follow Pawn Joker Games for more information (details are available at the end of the article). There will be cool stuff and stretch goals to offer to the community throughout the whole campaign. So, look forward to it!

About Bushido, the Card Game of Virtue and Dice:

Bushido, the Card Game of Virtue and Dice is a samurai themed push-your-luck set collection game for 2–5 players. Players take to the Dojo to compete by learning Virtues of the Bushido Code. To win, they must be the first to learn enough to impress one of the Daimyo!

Bushido, the Card Game is an interesting blend of push-your-luck and strategy. Each roll of the die will leave you with a decision, collect virtues, or activate Daimyo abilities to alter the game in your advantage. The virtues serve as a set collection requirement unique to each Daimyo. Each Daimyo has a special power that players can use to their benefit. Whichever decision you go with, however small they may seem, will ultimately lead to your victory or demise.

For twelve years the Province of Tosa has been blessed with peace and prosperity. Peace and prosperity that has been won through valiant battle and sacrifice that has left Tosa with little army yet still what remains defends the earned prosperity. Until sea faring invades lay siege to Kochi, a capital port for Tosa and threatens this lasting peace. With the invaders not willing to negotiate; the Shogun orders his many Daimyo to travel Tosa in search for recruits to train in order to bolster the dwindling ranks of Samurai for the inevitable military confrontation.

How was your experience with Bushido 1st Edition? What are you doing different to ensure the success of 2nd Edition?

Bushido, the Card game 1st Edition was one of my earliest creations, so it was more to me about finding an artist, growing as a graphic designer and learning more about the industry. Manufactures, distributors, marketing and everything else. The biggest difficulty I had with self-publishing the 1st edition, and a challenge I face with 2nd edition, is marketing. How to let players know about this fun game I worked so hard on. Who to tell, where and when to advertise? It is something that still eludes me — however I am getting better at it.

The 2nd edition does not have much of anything different from 1st edition in terms of mechanics, although I am prepared to design and test new Shogun cards that provide a cool new twist to the game. I lowered the player count from 6 to 5 due to complaints about the scarcity of components available during longer games leading to rare situations were the game cannot be won. Other than that, the differences lay in aesthetic. Better graphic design, better card stock, better manufacture. New tactile wooden dice and tokens for a thematic feel of feudal Japan.

You hate dice games, yet you’ve created one here. Tell me about it!

I grew up on RISK with a best friend who can’t seem to roll bad. Ever. In his life. Meanwhile, I roll a 6 about twice a game. The dice don’t stop hating me at RISK either, almost every game I have issues with variance not going my way. We remember the bad and rarely the good — I’m sure the dice were nice to me once. As a mechanic, I am sour on dice — or anything too random. Player agency and strategy isn’t necessarily available in the random dice toss and bad rolls can ruin games that are too dependent on dice. So, I challenged myself to make a game with a mechanic I don’t like (Bushido is only one of two…. Spoilers.) But before I could do that, I needed to figure out ways to use dice even if the rolls are bad and, in research, I found two things.

One… Modifiers! I play DnD and the X-wing miniatures game — both have dice. I don’t mind too much as both those games have ways to deal with bad dice rolls. Some way to reroll, whether through an effect of a token you can earn and use when needed had to be in Bushido. So, we reward players with Focus tokens throughout the game of Bushido. These tokens can be used to re-roll one of your dice — or one of your opponents. This helps take a bad dice roll and potentially make it a good dice roll.

Two…. Options! Plenty of options for the dice to be used is another mechanic I’ve seen that softens the hit of bad rolls. Yahtzee being the most famous game allowing a player options for their dice rolls. Players in Bushido, the Card Game have available to them six different cards that require different dice combinations. If a player rolls a number they don’t want, there is a good chance they could use one of the dice to collect a Virtue in the Dojo or request another Daimyo’s assistance.

What was your biggest challenge when developing this game?

I challenged myself to make a game with a mechanic I don’t like, dice. I researched dice games I liked and noted the reasons why. I designed a few games in my head that incorporated those aspects and went from there. Bushido, the Card Game, came together smoothly in terms of development after that. I had a good idea of what I wanted for the game and after a few prototype iterations, and lots of play-testing, it was finalized. Bushido, the Card game 1st Edition was one of my earliest creations, so it was more to me about finding an artist, growing as a graphic designer and learning more about the industry. The biggest difficulty I had with self-publishing the 1st edition, and a challenge I face with 2nd edition, is marketing. How to let players know about this fun game I worked so hard on.

For more information on Bushido, the Card Game please visit the links below:

Kickstarter Campaign: Bushido The Card Game 2nd Edition

Publisher Website: www.pawnjokergames.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pawnjokergames
Twitter: www.twitter.com/pawnjokergames

Article published on www.fourtato.com

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